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Climbing tree trunks and mending willow tunnels

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 16 Apr 2010 at 08:57 PM

I am feeling optimistic this evening.

This might have something to do with a relatively successful Easter holidays (if we ignore that trip to A&E... ).  It may also be the fact that it's 8.30pm, the kids are all in bed and there's a chilled bottle of beer in my hand.  But no, the real reason for my buoyant mood is the village playground.

After a couple of tricky weeks in which I got very angry about orange play sand and our beautiful willow tunnel was vandalised, I can at last feel more positive about the project.

Firstly, my sophisticated tactic of being bloody stubborn appears to have worked and this week the 20 tonnes of Jordan-coloured sand (the woman, not the country) was removed and replaced by a material closer in skin tone to Nicole Kidman or the ginger one in Girls Aloud.  This has meant we've finally been able to place our tree trunks at the centre of the sand area to act as an 'au naturale' climbing frame.

Secondly, we had a surprisingly successful 'village working party' last weekend in which about 50 of our local number volunteered to do some serious labouring.  This included digging over the heavy clay and adding 15 cubic metres of spent mushroom compost to create the first two planted areas around the children's playground.  Best of all, a handful of parents and children helped me to re-weave the willow tunnel to the point where it looks almost as good as the day it was created.

There's nothing to say that the vandalism won't happen again - I'm an optimist, not a fantasist - but I believe it has to help that so many children were down helping to mend the damage and create the space. Then again, that might be the chilled beer talking and I could simply be confusing my life with an 'against the odds' ITV1 drama.

In case you're wondering, Julie Walters is playing me.

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